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Showing posts from March, 2013

T-Minus 3 Months to Postdoc Launch

Time shrinking is a phenomenon I'm currently experiencing big time as the start date for my first postdoctoral position approaches. On 24th June my Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship officially starts, and while I can't wait (it will have been 11 months since I found out I got funding), there's also still an awful lot to sort out.

Learning to let go: Archaeonerd on the postdoc rollercoaster... and yoga

My good friend Becky Farbstein, who blogs as Archaeonerd, has been in the same difficult place I was following her PhD, when you have to learn the hard lessons about the paucity of postdoctoral funding in the UK. She also went through the trauma of turning away from a vocation that is a major part of our identities, and trying to accept that this doesn't negate you as a person. Also like me, she found that in fact she had other passions that could become a larger part of her life, in her case she took the decision to train as a yoga teacher and has been extremely successful.
I'm delighted to say that the similarities between our postdoc experiences don't end there, as she's just been awarded funding from the Leverhulme Trust with William Davies at University of Southampton to do a hugely exciting project on early European ceramics, and so she's now officially re-entering the academic fray. She's written a post about this rollercoaster postdoc ride we've be…

Unravelling Human Origins 2013 report: general Palaeolithic edition

Here's the somewhat delayed report from the January Unravelling Human Origins Conference held at Cambridge University. I've already written a post on the papers that focused on Neanderthal archaeology, so here are the rest that I found most interesting.

Science Grrls at MOSI!

On Saturday evening, I was in bed by 10.30 pm, full of warm feelings, only some of it from the pie, mash and gravy we had for dinner. My feel-good glow was also thanks to my first experience as part of the Science Grrl project, set up in 2012 to create a network of diverse female role models to encourage girls to consider a career in science (you can read more about the original trigger for action here).

I'm a Woman In Science! International Womens' Day event at MOSI

Tomorrow (Saturday 9th March) I'll be volunteering at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry. A special Saturday Science day with workshops for kids in electronics and maths is being held in association with Science Grrl, featuring a diverse group of women scientists who'll be walking around the museum chatting to people.

Dogs in the Palaeolithic

I'm trying to post more often, which means some shorter bits now and then when I spot something cool or have a bizarre thought tangent.
So- a genetics paper has just been published that apparently confirms an early Upper Palaeolithic dog from Altai, Siberia, as more closely related to prehistoric New World dogs and modern domestic dogs than to wolves of a similar age. This paper is open access, so feel free to check it out. It made me think a bit about what role dogs were playing in regard to Palaeolithic art.

There are already definite dog remains from the Late Upper Palaeolithic, about 14,000 (ka) years ago, and there have been other claimed skeletal examples from Early Upper Palaeolithic sites too, the earliest being c. 36ka in Belgium. mtDNA analysis across modern dogs suggested a place and time for their domestication at around 16ka years ago in China, but more extrnsive nuclear DNA studies suggest a European or Near East origin.The authors of the new mtDNA study are careful…

India: Mercantile magic

Next up in the posts from my trip to India is a series of images capturing some of my experiences being a true tourist: shopping! I took a very large bag with hardly anything in it, so I could indulge in the crafts that India has been famed for over thousands of years. Needless to say, the retail experience is completely different to the West, and an adventure in itself.

Having begun our trip in Hyderabad, we went to the main shopping area at the Laad Bazaar on our first evening to see the famous 'bling' bangle stores, and it was a great immersion into city-centre bustling life at the Charminar mosque roundabout. Just up against the famous mosque a temporary Hindu temple had been erected, which had caused serious rioting in the city just before we arrived. Although we didn't experience any trouble, there were armed guards still present preventing access to the temple structure. I have to say this was the only example of religious tension we saw during the whole trip; every…